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Desktop supercomputer aims for 1.1 teraflops

Asus has unveiled a mini-supercomputer based on Nvidia graphics chips and a 3.33GHz Xeon
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Topic: Servers
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1 of 2 Tom Espiner/ZDNet

Asus has unveiled a mini-supercomputer based on Nvidia graphics chips and a 3.33GHz Xeon.

The ESC 1000 (pictured) can use a combination of traditional microprocessors and graphics chips to attain speeds of over 1.1 teraflops, according to Asus.

The mini-supercomputer, which was developed in conjunction with graphics tech company Nvidia, can use an Nvidia Quadro FX5800 graphics card, combined with three Nvidia 960 graphics processing cores in three Tesla c1060 computing processors. In the ESC 1000 Ultimate model, these cards are combined with a more traditional microprocessor, a 3.33GHz Intel LGA1366 Xeon W3580.

Using this combination of cards, the ESC 1000 can reach up to 1.104 teraflops. Asus said it had used single precision benchmarking to determine the processor speed.

'Flops', or floating point operations per second, is a measurement used for processor speed. One teraflop is equivalent to 1012 flops. The world's most powerful supercomputers, including IBM's Roadrunner, run at much higher speeds, are measured in petaflops, or 1015 flops.

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2 of 2 Tom Espiner/ZDNet

The chassis of the ESC 1000 is the size of a desktop computer, at 445mm x 217.5mm x 545mm, according to a spec sheet supplied by Asus. The memory capacity of the ESC 1000 is 24GB, while the product will come with a 1,100 watt power supply.

The hardware supports 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2008 and 2003, Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS5.0, and Suse Linux Enterprise Server 10.

Asus told ZDNet UK on Wednesday that the ESC 1000 would cost $24,519 (£14,968) over five years per unit, which includes power and maintenance costs. No UK-specific information was available at the time of writing.

Asus added that various internet reports stating the ESC 1000 was developed in conjunction with National Chao Tung University in Taiwan were incorrect, but added that the product had been launched at the university as part of a press event.

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